Daily Archives: November 11, 2021

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Frost and Old Friends

A white frost covered the green grass this morning and although I tried to pretend the chill did not nip my fingertips the cold early morning wind in my face reminded me winter was not far off.

With the oncoming Meadowlands winds, icy trails and cold toes, old friends are here again to greet me. And like all good friends always do, they bring a peace, gentleness and most of all an understanding of what is important in life.

Juncos flew one by one and then more and more darted away in all directions as I slowly walked the frosty dirt road. I’ve loved Juncos as far back as I could remember. Their flashes of white still enable my aging eyes to spot them at a distance and like all things that we have come to love over the years we feel at home when we are in their presence.

White-throated Sparrows, handsome birds if there ever was one and a good old friend for sure joined the Juncos and me, and then all things seemed right in the world.

Credit: James Falletti

Crows filled the partially bare trees with their panicked calls and brought unwanted attention to a very annoyed Great Horned Owl. The owl pretended not to even notice the large birds circling all around as the crows tried their best drive it out of town. The owl looked at me like it was interested in a friendly morning conversation but was bit preoccupied with the annoying neighbors. So like sometimes you do with old friends you give them some space when they need it and move on for a visit on a better day.

A Red-tailed hawk glided slowly over the frosted field seeming to enjoy the cold more than anyone could. Red-tails have been friends close to my heart since childhood. Before the Eagles came back and the peregrines hunted once again the Red-tails carried on the spirit of the raptors when no one else could, and like old friends that helped you through a tough time I will always honor the Red-tailed, elegant, graceful and strong. We should always stop and appreciate them wherever they are.

The Bald Eagle is a new friend, at least to a Meadowlands kid who grew up only dreaming of even seeing a Bald Eagle glide over the fields and marshes. The Eagle always will remind me of what is possible, it symbolizes the good in us and like all good friends gives us strength to move ahead and face the future knowing there is someone who cares what we can do together.

Nature is what we all have in common. It is our one constant throughout our lives. So get outside and make some new friends this fall. The birds and all of us are counting on you

 See you in the Meadowlands.